Upgraded Israeli drones, Airbus aircraft, Tejas — deals on defence ministry agenda for 2021

The Indian Ministry of Defence has listed procurement of C-295 transport aircraft from Airbus through Make in India, along with the Tejas Mk 1-A, indigenous Light Combat Helicopter and upgraded Heron drones from Israel, as the major deals that are to be inked in 2021. 

While both C-295 and Tejas deals have been pending for long, the ministry in its annual report said both deals will be inked in the near future.

On the Tejas deal, it said the case for procurement of advanced 83 LCA Mk 1A from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is at final stage of approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and contract is “likely to be signed soon”. 

It is expected that the deal will be signed around next month when India’s air show — Aero India — takes off in Bengaluru. 

“Case of procurement of 56 C-295 from M/s Airbus with participation of an Indian Production Agency for manufacture of 40 aircraft (out of total 56) in India is also at CFA approval stage and contract is likely to be signed in the near future,” the ministry has said in its report.

Talking about the upgrade of Israeli drones Heron and the procurement of Light Combat Helicopter from HAL, the ministry said it is “also at advance stage and contracts are likely to be signed in the first quarter of 2021”.

The upgrade plans came as India is on a shopping spree to ramp up its firepower and surveillance capabilities as the ongoing tensions at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

According to the plan, the Herons are supposed to be upgraded with laser-guided bombs, precision-guided munitions, and anti-tank missiles.

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